Ofgem yesterday handed Scottish and Southern Electric a record fine of £10.5m for mis-selling. Today, the big six energy supplier released an apology to its customers:
“SSE is deeply regretful that breaches occurred and apologises unreservedly to any customers who have been affected by sales activity which ran counter to the values and culture of the company.
“It has taken important lessons on board and has transformed its approach to sales to ensure that it will not fall short of the standards all of its customers deserve.”
The statement goes on to explain that the majority of breaches took place between October 2009 and July 2011, and that they centered about doorstep and telesales — the former of which has been cancelled.
SSE adds that it was aware that the investigation was taking place, and that appropriate action has been taken to ensure future compliance of licensing standards.
William Morris, Managing Director, Retail, said: “It has been clear to me from my first day at the company that everyone at SSE is deeply regretful of the way in which we failed to manage and monitor some sales activities, particularly between 2009 and 2011, when, unacceptably, standards slipped below the high levels all customers should be able to expect.
“During the period in question we worked hard to offer competitive prices and carve out an industry-leading position on customer service. We did not, however, spend enough time monitoring our sales processes. That meant we did not always sell in the right way, and we let some customers down.
“When I joined SSE, it was clear that efforts to put things right were well under way. Existing and potential customers can rest assured that we now have the systems, procedures, staff, training and auditing in place to ensure that they will not be let down again.”
Among some of the actions SSE says it has taken include new training programmes, enhanced post-sales quality checks and a ‘significant restructuring’ which includes external hiring of a new Director of Sales.
The energy provider has also highlighted its Sales Guarantee, which it introduced in 2011. Under the guarantee, customers who can show that they switched to SSE under false information are entitled to compensation from the £5m fund that company set aside for such claims.
If customers feel they were wrongly sold to, they can call the dedicated number at 0845 0707 388.